STATES CHRONICLE – We are getting more and more excited about this November’s start, as Taurid fireballs erupt on the sky this week.
The Taurids are an annual meteor shower type of event, linked to the comet Encke. They are thusly named after a point in the Taurus constellation, where they are seen to come from on the night sky. They are also called the Halloween fireballs, because they occur around the end of October and beginning of November.
Our planet takes a few weeks to pass through the Taurid meteor shower, giving us a good opportunity to see the show. Because they have been disturbed over time by the gravitational pull of different planets, such as ours or as Jupiter, they have split into two segments, both visible to us, the Northern Taurids and the Southern Taurids.
There have already been reports and lots of stunning pictures this week-end of the beautiful cosmic display. But there is more to come, because the climax of it all will happen this week. The Southern Taurids are coming and they should produce their greatest numbers of meteors on the night of November 5th, starting after midnight.
There is also good news regarding the Moon’s activity. It is waning, which means it will be as little obtrusive as possible on that particular night. Less light coming from the moon translates into a darker sky and a bigger possibility for us to see the light show coming from the meteors, as the earth slowly passes through them. Normally, the South Taurids produce about 7 meteors an hours, which makes for quite an impressive display.
The Taurid shower, during its cycle, peaks every 2500 to 3000 years, when its core passes nearest to earth and renders the most intensive display. Some scientists have come forth with the theory that, since this date coincides with the building of some megalithic structures on earth, such as Stonehenge, it is possible they are connected.
Also, some astronomers even suggest that the Taurids are linked to the Tunguska event in 1908. That was a large explosion near the Tunguska River, in Russia. It flattened 2000 km of forest, but made no victims, as far as we know. The reason behind it and why it’s linked to the Taurids is the fact that it’s believed that a meteor hit the earth then. It is also classified as an impact event, although no crater has actually been found. The meteor is believed to have burst in mid-air.
Image Source: www.wikimedia.org